December 10, 2010

Choices, Choices

If you are the grocery shopper in your family, you know that every day seems to bring more and more choices to make as you fill your cart. Twenty years ago, the bread aisle featured soft white bread of the Wonder Bread ® persuasion, whole wheat, rye and maybe a pumpernickel loaf or a raisin bread.  You might have found English muffins or plain bagels. Today, those choices have multplied exponentially. White bread?  Would you like yours square, or with a rounded top? Italian style, with a bit of crust, or maybe a sourdough, french bread stick or round loaf from the in-store bakery? Hard rolls, soft rolls, hoagie-style rolls, pita bread, deli flats or ciabatta squares? And you want English muffins? Will that be whole wheat, blueberry, cinnamon,  fiber added? Regular size or mini? These a just a few of the increasing options among which you can choose.

But, reading through The Lunchbox Cookbook (CulinaryArts Institute, 1955) I have realized that in another way, our choices for sandwich making have become narrower and narrower. How many sandwich fillings can you think of? Exclude turkey, beef, ham, bologna and salami - how many can you come up with now?  Probably not too many.  Peanut butter, tuna salad, egg salad, brunschweiger and cheese are what I come up with.  Well, our friends at the Culinary Institute would scoff at that meager list!  The Lunchbox Cookbook features almost 100 varieties of sandwich fillings! "Turkey, roast beef, ham or salami today, honey?" Obviously a sandwich amateur!

The sandwich fillings featured in The Lunchbox Cookbook are divided into ten categories, and I'll try to explore them all, so you can see what you've been missing.  Today's recipe comes from the "Fish and Shellfish Fillings" category: Favorite Fish Filling.  What makes this a frightening food is the way the chef who devised this managed to put together a lot of things I like to eat to create something that sounds terrible!  See if it appeals to you:


3/4 cup cooked fish (salmon, tuna, crabmeat or shrimp)
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
3 tablespoons pitted and chopped ripe olives
3 tablespoons salad dressing (Miracle Whip®)
1 tablespoon olive juice [sic]
1/4 teaspoon MSG
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 or 3 drops of tabasco sauce

Flake fish. Moisten with salad dressing. Blend in remaining ingredients, mixing lightly but thoroughly.

December 8, 2010

Yes, Virginia, there is a Bologna King

Today's recipe choices were inspired by their equally alliterative names, one following right after the other in the 'Main Dishes like Magic' section of the Better Homes and Gardens Meals in Minutes cookbook (Meredith Corporation, 1963). The anonymous editor of this addition to BHG's "Creative Cooking Library" had quite a fondness for alliteration, titling other sections Buzz it in the Blender, Skip-a-Step Salads, Easy Frypan Favorites, and one I have mentioned before, and a particular favorite of mine, Dandy Do-little Desserts.  My first choice is titled with 'two great words that (don't) go great together' - Bean Banquet.  In my mind, the name conjures up the mental picture of a 1930's hobo camp, with a couple of grizzled old guys stirring the ol' beanpot over the campfire.  The second recipe is Bologna Bake, the ingredients list of which begins, "3/4 pound big Bologna, diced". It begs the question - if you are going to dice it, why must you start with a 'big Bologna'? We may never know. Unless, maybe, we attend next year's annual Big Bologna Parade in Yale, Michigan and ask around a bit. Perhaps the Bologna Royalty (yes, you read that right) can tell you.  Bologna seems to be big business in Yale, where the King and Queen of Bologna, apparently willingly, promote the wonderful motto, "Yale, Michigan. We are full of bologna and proud of it!”

BEAN BANQUET                                                    
4 cups pork and beans in tomato sauce
1/4 cup catsup                                                 
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 to 1-1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 12-ounce cans luncheon meat

In a 10x6x1-1/2 in. baking dish, combine beans, catsup and seasonings.Cut meat in half lengthwise. Cutting not quite through, slice each half in 7 cross-wise slices. Arrange meat in "accordians" on beans. Bake in moderate oven (375) 25 to 30 minutes or until beans are bubbling hot. Place in broiler a few minutes to brown meat; brush meat with melted butter. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Greetings from the Yale Chamber of Commerce.

 3/4 lb big Bologna, diced (2 cups)
1 cup celery slices
 1/4 cup sliced stuffed olives
4 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Dash pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup crushed potato chips

Combine all ingredients except potato chips. Place in a 8-1/4x1-3/4 inch round ovenware dish; sprinkle with crushed potato chips. Bake in hot oven (400) 20 to 25 minutes.  Makes 4 or 5 servings.